Hackers are working on sending their own satellites into orbit around the Earth as part of an effort to combat the rising threat of internet censorship, and are also planning to put an amateur astronaut on the moon.
Hackers are working on sending their own satellites into orbit around the Earth as part of an effort to combat the rising threat of internet censorship.
The Hackerspace Global Grid was revealed at the Chaos Communication Congress in Berlin. The proposals include developing and launching satellites in addition to a grid of ground stations for tracking them. The idea is to have the ground stations built by individuals or small groups, dividing the cost and control.
"The first goal is an uncensorable internet in space. Let's take the internet out of the control of terrestrial entities," said hacktivist Nick Farr, who put out a call for contributions to the project in August.
The major obstacle to this endeavour is funding. Hobbyists have previously managed to get small satellites into orbit, but they are usually unreliable and difficult to track, which would be no good for the internet. Other obstacles include the technical difficulties of low-orbit versus geostationary satellites and the potential for governments to interfere with and disable satellites.
Three prototype ground stations are being planned for the first half of 2012. The group also hopes to give away working models at the next Chaos Communication Congress, with the aim to keep ground station costs around €100, making it affordable for many people to participate in this space project.
The hackers suggested they would even like to put an amateur astronaut on the moon within the next 23 years, though how feasible this is remains in question, particularly given the technical and monetary barriers, as well as the potential safety threat.
The idea of making space open to more than just government agencies is an interesting and welcome thought, however, and could pave the way to some of humanity's greatest triumphs and discoveries.
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